Arthur Chi’en of WPIX Has Raised the Bar for NYC Traffic Violence Reportage

If you haven’t seen it, you should have a look at Arthur Chi’en’s story on the growing movement to keep children safe from reckless New York City drivers, which aired last night on WPIX.

Chi’en spoke with Amy Tam and Hsi-Pei Liao, whose little girl Allison Liao was killed by a driver in a crosswalk in Flushing. The driver was summonsed for failure to yield to a pedestrian and careless driving. He was not charged with a crime for fatally striking Allison, which compounded her parents’ grief.

Chi’en also talked with attorney Steve Vaccaro, who represents Tam and Liao. Vaccaro said motorists should at least fear for their driving privileges in crashes like the one that killed Allison.

Chi’en said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown is still investigating Allison’s case. It is extremely rare for district attorneys in New York City to charge a driver for killing unless he is drunk or flees the scene, a point Chi’en makes in the story.

Chi’en eschews the sensationalism and victim-blaming that normally pass for journalism on this beat. He avoids describing deadly crashes as “accidents.” This story should serve as the blueprint for reporters who write about vehicular violence in New York City.

  • dporpentine

    So, after I unblocked a thousand evil ad networks, I was finally able to watch it.

    And it was worth the trouble. But of course what’s most striking about it is how unexceptional it is–or should be. Straight and to the point reporting, moving certainly but not fancy, about an event of real significance to all New Yorkers.

    Why is that so hard?

  • JarekAF

    Success to me is when people stop thinking (i) “oh shit, that could’ve been me driving, no way that person should get 5 years jail time” and start thinking like (ii) “oh shit, that could be my son, daughter or loved one taken away forever because some careless fuck is in a hurry, and now that person gets a $250 fine at most.”

  • My belief is that Arthur Chi’en has a great pedigree from his past as the excellent reporter he was on NY1. NY1 is the high bar for no-nonsense, non sensationalist, real reporting – and their newspeople work really hard to get their stories. This story shows how this issue needs to be covered. I can see most other reporters would have probably gotten a driver’s reaction to balance out the piece. But this story is not about that. We all deserve to let Mr. Chi’en know what a great job he did.

    WPIX has an hour long block and they have done some very good in-depth reporting in the past. Sure they also have their sensationalist side too, but I think they succeed in their quest to be reporting for real New Yorkers and if you look at any newscast there is substance (just look at any ridiculous CBS newscast any night of the week = “Is there mold in your socks? Beware the danger from peanuts!! Your kid could die from playing board games!!) WPIX does not go to that level, and many of their reporters like Help Me Howard try to get change for those wronged.

    A few nights ago WPIX even aired a expose on NYPD’s Ray Kelly showing his softer side and some of the work behind-the-scenes he does in communities I’m not a big fan of his by any means, but I loved it, and it let you see things Kelly does that he chooses not to publicize and the general public is not privy too. It was good tv.

    Let’s hope this reporting shows the way for others in his profession.

  • Charlie

    Great reporting. We need more of it. Totally unacceptable that drivers continue to kill with essentially a slap on the wrist (if anything at all). Kind of ironic that to watch the clip you have to watch a car advertisement…

  • John

    less sensationalism, less oh-lets-feel-good stories ( such as cute kittens being rescued ) wasting our airtime is what our news should be.

  • Ben Kintisch

    I saw this report and it was excellent. Imagine the good our broadcast journalists could do if they followed the lead of this excellent reporter.

  • jamesbeaz

    Vote up this comment if you agree that we should ban right turns on red in NYC. I see right turns on red as a privilege for drivers who are disciplined enough not to nudge their way through the intersection when pedestrians are present — or even enter it if they ‘estimate’ they will clear the crosswalk before or after pedestrians have passed. Clearly, drivers are not responsible enough for this privilege, which does not exist in the UK or Europe. When pedestrians have the ‘green man’ they have they crosswalk, no vehicles allowed.

  • Guest

    Do you even live here? We already have, unless specifically posted otherwise.

  • Michael Klatsky

    Right turn on red is prohibited in NYC, and has been for many years.

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    Please stop auto-playing videos.


  • NoAds

    I hope you don’t make a habit of putting automatically-playing videos on the front page. Content aside, this video is a real nuisance.

  • Aunt Bike

    There are 25 right on red intersections in the borough of Staten Island. And per my observations, it’s very uncommon to see drivers stopping to look before making their turn as the law requires.

    Staten Island politicians, most notably former Borough President James Molinaro, former Council member and current BP James Oddo, and Council member Vincent Ignizio (who sits on the Council’s Transportation Committee) have managed to make this part of NYC as difficult for pedestrians as possible. I rarely bicycle on SI anymore, not long ago there was a hoopla over eleven drivers being ticketed for driving in a bike lane and an assault on a cyclist, and SI politicians managed to deal with it by getting the bike lane removed. Here’s streetsblog on what went on around that time….

    It should be noted that the Staten Island Advance newspaper printed five editorials calling for that bike lane’s removal. The paper seems to be a branch of the Borough President’s office.